A couple of weeks ago I got out a piece of paper. This paper was to be ‘the plan’ – that is, the plan for where I hoped to put all of the bazillion seeds or resultant seedlings when it was time for them to be placed permanently. I decided I’d probably be best actually measuring the beds instead of, you know, randomly guessing. Outside I went, thus, measuring tape in hand, and proceeded to do the horrible ‘number stuff’. Once back inside, I drew up a scale drawing (I think it ended up at 1/8th scale? Who knows. Numbers, blaaah) and realised that the bed which I’d dug at the end of last year was smaller than I’d thought. Tiny, in fact. The length wasn’t far off the other bed, only 20cm difference, but the width was considerably less than it had ‘looked’. The new bed was under half the width of my original bed and that bed hadn’t been exactly swimming in space to begin with. Given I wanted to plant peas and beans at the back (so I can put supports on the fence) and other plants in front I was beginning to doubt I had room. So I put on my puppy eyes and asked Andy if I could dig up more of our lawn towards the greater good. I think he just sighed as soon as he saw the gleam in my eye!
So, since that moment I’d been waiting for a clear day. A clear warm day. Preferably even a few in a row. I know in Scotland and in January this was asking a lot but finally the weather took pity on me and left me with workable ground and I didn’t even have to dig in the drizzle to do it! After the hard time I’d had doing the first part of the bed I decided I was going to try lifting the turf off (instead of just turning it). This worked well as I had just had a large pile of compost-manure delivered which I wanted to dress my new bed with – something to get it going and hopefully start the grassy soil off with a decent feed. I also figured that this time I’d actually mark where I was going to cut since last time I ended up a bit skee wiff. I still had to contend with only having a normal spade (not flat edged), but at least I’d be closer to a straight bed.
It was still bloody hard work, all told, but a lot easier than the last go. I also bought some edging, this time, to make the whole thing a bit neater and, hopefully, discourage the grass from trying to re-invade too much. This new extension to the new bed gives me double the growing area it had previously – perhaps a bit generous given I’ll now need to place some stepping stones to get to the back! I’m looking forward to having so much space. Last year I could only grow a couple of most plants as I knew I wouldn’t have room for bigger blocks. Now I can grow a few more things and more of the things I liked or that worked well (maybe more baby sweetcorn, yum).
The compost mix was from a local company, Dow’s Garden Supplies – very friendly people and prompt to reply to questions =) I got some manure from them and decided to get some of their mixed manure / compost, too, as I wasn’t keen on putting pure manure down on a fresh bed – I wanted something with a wider mix of nutrients. The manure will be used to top up the fertility of the old bed and as a conditioner before some of the brassicas and other feed-heavy plants go in – it’s had a layer of home-made compost as a mulch since the end of last year which has really begun to break down now that it’s getting warmer again but I can’t produce enough at home to give it as thick a layer as I’d like.
Now I just need to get past February so I can start planting stuff to put in it!